Obama Won't Repair Your Car

The conservative blogosphere is indulging itself in a bit of snark over this part of Obama's auto-industry speech:

[I]n case there are still nagging doubts, let me say it as plainly as I can -- if you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors, you will be able to get your car serviced and repaired, just like always. Your warranty will be safe.

In fact, it will be safer than it's ever been. Because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warranty.

"Expect that same excellent service that you have grown to love from your local DMV," says Gateway Pundit, tongue planted firmly in cheek. Ed Morrissey raced his way to the same gag a few hours later, with even more delicate sarcasm: "This is great news -- for fans of the DMV." (Italics in the original -- in case you missed the joke.) More high quality snark here, here and here.

But I doubt any of these people has actually read the plan.


If they did, they would realize that the warranty program does not put the government in the business of making auto repairs. The program merely creates a cash account to fund future repairs. The accounts will be run through a third-party -- described in the white paper as a "company" --  that has the sole purpose of picking a new warranty service provider for all of a participating automaker's warranties if the company goes bust.

All of this is private industry, avoid-the-government-type stuff. The only thing the government provides is the money. The white paper (pdf) suggests that at no stage in the process will an individual car owner have to interact with, look at, or think about anybody who works for the government.

Which must be disappointing. For fans of the DMV.

Presented by

Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. More

Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism, an economics blog that was recently published in book form by Simon and Schuster. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. He is also on Twitter.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Politics

Just In